Potential carbon abatement from the Scottish public sector: summary report

As part of the RPP2 process, we commissioned the Carbon Trust to estimate the carbon abatement potential of the Scottish public sector to 2030.

2 Introduction


The Scottish Government has adopted ambitious targets for the reduction of carbon emissions that will require substantial contributions from all sectors of the economy. To help understand the potential contribution from the public sector to that effort, and to provide inputs to the update of the Report on Policies and Proposals ( RPP2), the Scottish Government commissioned the Carbon Trust to explore the potential for carbon abatement from the Scottish public sector estate.


The study had 3 main objectives:

  • To create an emissions baseline for the Scottish public sector estate;
  • To estimate the abatement potential out to 2030 and provide inputs to the RPP2 process;
  • To identify the main barriers to public sector carbon abatement and possible interventions to address them.

Scope and Sources

The study covered emissions from electricity use, on-site fossil fuel use, owned transport and waste. All public sector bodies were in scope and were included where data was available. The Public Sector Emissions Baseline section of this document provides further detail on the organisations included.

Because traded emissions (principally electricity), transport emissions and waste emissions are covered elsewhere in the RPP2 process, it was necessary to estimate the baseline and abatement potential at several levels. A baseline and estimate of abatement potential was created that excludes traded emissions, transport and waste (referred to as the ' RPP2' baseline), and a total baseline including all sources and measures was also created (referred to as the 'Combined' baseline).

The study was conducted over 6 weeks during June and July 2012 and only used and analysed data and evidence that was already available. Due to time constraints, there was no primary data collection and public sector bodies were not directly involved in the study. The main sources of data were the Carbon Management Plans of c. 130 public sector bodies and the Carbon Trust's proprietary database of carbon reduction recommendations made to customers, 'Close Out'. Some additional research into longer term reduction potential was carried out, and the Carbon Trust's Public Sector Team contributed their experience of working with 3,000 public sector bodies across the UK.


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